Media advocacy groups have condemned the murder of Somalia’s Shabelle Media Network Director Hassan Osman Abdi, the network’s third leader to be killed in as many years.
Reporters Without Borders issued a statement Saturday expressing condolences to Abdi’s family and his fellow journalists. The Paris-based group says Abdi is the first journalist to be killed in 2012 in Somalia, Africa’s deadliest country for media personnel. Before him, Shabelle Media Network Director Bashir Nur Gedi was killed in 2007 and Mukhtar Mohamed Hirabe in 2009.
The National Union of Somali Journalists expressed outrage over the daylight murder of the senior journalist and director of the leading private radio and television network in Southern Somalia.
The group says Abdi was shot dead Saturday evening as he returned home in Madina district of Mogadishu. He was trailed by five men in a sedan who fired a total of five shots. Abdi suffered serious injuries to his head and chest and died on the way to Madina hospital.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
The head of the Somali journalists union, Omar Faruk Osman, Called Abdi’s death a terrible tragedy, both for his family and for the Somali journalist community.
Reporters Without Borders said violence against journalists in Somalia is sustained by impunity for those responsible. The group says it is quite clear that Abdi was deliberately targeted and called for a serious and impartial investigation that leads to the identification of his murderers.
Radio Shabelle is Somalia’s most renowned privately-owned radio station and the one that is most exposed to violence.
Somalia is ranked 164th out of 179 countries in the annual press freedom index that Reporters Without Borders published on 25 January.
Abdi, a father of three, had worked at Shabelle Radio for three years. The Somali journalist union cited colleagues as saying they believed his killing was related to his role in reporting on the political crisis in Somalia and on corruption.
Somali government backed by African Union forces is battling the Islamic militant group, al-Shabab, which controls most of central and southern Somalia.
The country has not had a stable government since 1991.